Katie Lark

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Email Marketing and the Benefit to Small Businesses

What the president taught us about effective email marketing, and how small businesses can benefit during the holidays

This year's presidential campaign taught us a lot about marketing. Mostly that the youth demographic plays one of the largest roles in choosing a candidate and that technology and digital marketing is the most important way to to reach them. It's no secret email marketing played an important role in the president's gain over Romney. The question is how can businesses adapt these tactics into their current digital marketing strategies?

With the holiday season in full gear, small businesses are doing what they can to take advantage of the giving spirit—implementing strategic marketing campaigns with the hope of seeing big results—what the holidays are about for businesses.

Know your most important target audiences
Spend your money where it counts. During the presidential election, candidates spent most of their time campaigning in states like Ohio and Florida, in states with the greatest impact on the election and where the possibility to sway voters was possible. Obama didn't waste dollars in states like Arizona and Texas, where the results would end up one way regardless of his efforts. As a small business, you learn it's important to put your money where the most influential audience is. Don't worry about pleasing everyone; focus on pleasing the people that are going to transfer your efforts into sales.

Data is critical to effective marketing campaigns
This election year, we heard about the use of data to plan strategy more than ever before. Presidential campaigns have become dependent on voter data to determine where and how to market their campaign. It's common for small businesses to neglect data. Most small business owners are intimidated by the difficulty of transferring data to ideas and do not have the resources to hire an analyst—thankfully, new technology has made it possible for anyone to understand analytics. Email marketing service providers like JangoSMTP offer analytics software that establishing trends and changes in your contacts' behavior showing the key metrics needed to track your campaign performance.

Consistency and transparency—the best policy
One of the most important components of branding is consistency. From your message and the way you deliver it, consistency is what reinforces your brand and turns people into believers of what you say and the products and services you sell. Think back to the election, nothing made voters question a candidate's conviction to a set of ideas more than flip-flopping beliefs to please everyone. Pick what you do and stick to it - the heading of your email, the color scheme, design and voice. Your company's transparency is key to gaining customer trust, and perception is everything. If you seem like you have something to hide, people aren't going to trust you. From the amount of money Romney made to the truth behind Obama's past, the more open candidates were about these matters, the more people positively supported them.

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Sara Bird is a computer programmer working on her PhD in robotics. She loves talking about Higgs Boson, reading New Scientist and is getting tired of her thesis but is glad it is nearly done.